Eric Reid believes protests could cost him free-agent opportunities

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Eric Reid is entering the prime of his career, but his protests could limit his free agency. USATSI

San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid is the active player with the longest-running record of protesting during the national anthem. Reid began kneeling during the anthem to protest police brutality and systemic racism shortly after his former teammate, Colin Kaepernick, began doing so, and he has kept up the practice through the past two seasons. 

Reid has not been shy in stating that he believes Kaepernick remains unsigned because of his protests, and he knows that when it comes to his free agency, the same thing could happen to him. 

"It's a possibility," Reid said, per ESPN.com. "There are probably teams that won't want to talk to me because of it. I'm hopeful that I will be on a team next year, but if not, again, that's OK with me."

Reid is in the final year of his rookie contract and has played well for the 49ers in his transition to strong safety. (He didn't fare quite as well as a linebacker when the team moved him there for a few weeks early this season, but bounced back after being returning to safety.) By almost any standard, Reid falls somewhere between a rotational and starter-quality player in the NFL. But Kaepernick is also an NFL-caliber player and he's gone without a job for the entire season, and so Reid was asked by reporters if he's concerned about his future prospects.

"I wouldn't use the word concerned," Reid said. "I would say I understand that's a possibility. And I'm completely fine with it. The things that I've done, I stand by, and I've done that for my own personal beliefs. Like I said, I'm fine with whatever outcome happens because of that."

At 26 years old, Reid should theoretically be entering the prime of his career over the next few seasons. A player of his caliber at that age would normally have several suitors, but as he stated himself, it's possible his market could be limited because of his protests.

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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